We are excited to feature Joey Donavon Guido of Cuppa SEO as a guest blogger, offering three practices for dealing with the trauma of a pandemic on a personal level. He also encourages us to practice self-care, which is absolutely essential in these challenging times.

How is COVID-19 Impacting You?

We are currently living through a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime event that has serious implications regarding how we will do business and live our lives for years — if not decades — to come. And amidst the social distancing, and practical plans to keep ourselves and others healthy, there’s one thing I don’t see many people talking about: trauma.

The trauma of the pandemic runs deep and affects each of us in both similar and unique ways.

Some are battling the coronavirus themselves or have lost loved ones to the virus. For others, it’s the trauma of their business being shut down and wondering how they are going to make ends meet. There are psychological effects of wearing a mask in public and looking at people wearing masks, which is not easy to get used to. Many of us are dealing with our own fears and anxiety, which are exacerbated by the overwhelming energy of a planet of people struggling.

We need to deal with this trauma, and help those around us deal with it, too.

Whew! That’s some heavy stuff for a web design firm to be addressing.

I’d like to turn our attention to some ways we can deal with trauma personally and professionally. And although this post focuses on the personal side, what we’re talking about here affects the professional aspects of our lives, too.

Consider Three Practices

Here are three practices you can use to deal with the trauma of the pandemic:

Awareness. Check in with yourself to see how you are doing. If you’re like many people and are still super busy, you may have to make a very deliberate effort to actually STOP for a minute to check in and gauge where you’re at emotionally, cognitively, spiritually, and physically. Leaving any of these parts of yourself unchecked can have negative results like burnout, emotional outbursts, and exhaustion.

Checking in allows us to assess how we’re doing — whether it’s dealing with trauma or something else — and then respond before things get too far out of balance.

Acceptance. The pandemic is not your fault, and its effects on you and the world are not your fault. We can resist the fact that there’s a pandemic 24/7, and it won’t change the fact that it’s here. It’s normal to feel resistance toward something that’s negative and out of our control. It’s almost like saying, “Yes, I have a flat tire, but I don’t want a flat tire.”

Practice a “Yes, and” Philosophy. Diving deeper into practicing acceptance, I wanted to share the following. I’ve worked hard on removing the word “but” from my vocabulary, which has made a rather significant difference in my life. So now, instead of saying something like “Yes, I have a flat tire, but I don’t want a flat tire” (resistance), I say, “Yes, I have a flat tire, and what can I do about it?” (acceptance). This different way of thinking puts me in a more positive frame of mind — and helps me find a solution (if there is one), instead of wallowing in negativity (which can be pretty easy for us humans to do).

Self-care. Finally, during the pandemic and beyond, it’s incredibly important to exercise, meditate, and be kind to yourself — and find healthy self-care habits. In other words, make self-care a part of your daily life. I’ve found this concept to be a difficult one because my goal is to always take care of my family and clients first and foremost. What I realized, the hard way, was that if I’m not taking care of myself, I’m no good (or not nearly as good) to anybody else. Honestly, for many years of my life, I felt GUILTY taking care of myself — and this guilt was 100% self-imposed. Once I accepted that I have a right to take care of myself — and started doing it consistently — my overall well being improved, and all of my relationships improved as well!

One of the ways I implement self-care into my day is by using Field Notes notebooks and Blackwing pencils to write about all kinds of stuff — from minor occurrences to breakthrough moments. I geek out over these items, and taking notes with them has become a daily habit for me — a very positive habit — and I’m grateful for it.

Next time, we’ll tackle the professional side of dealing with the trauma of a pandemic.

Please take care and stay well!

Disclaimer: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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